NBC Announces Its Fall Lineup

Times Staff Writer

The critically acclaimed family drama “A Year in the Life,” Michael Mann’s “Crime Story” and the long-running comedy “Facts of Life” were canceled by NBC Tuesday to make room for new programming on the fall prime-time schedule.

Also leaving the schedule will be “St. Elsewhere,” whose departure had been announced earlier this year, the second-year family drama “Our House” and mid-season entries “Aaron’s Way” and “The Highwayman.”

In addition, Michael Landon’s 4-year-old “Highway to Heaven” and “My Two Dads,” a comedy that joined the NBC schedule last fall, do not appear in the lineup for the 1988-89 season. But NBC officials said that the network has renewed both as midseason replacements.

New to the lineup of the top-rated network will be a spinoff from the hit comedy “Golden Girls,” a new comedy with former “Taxi” star Judd Hirsch, a series based on the movie “Baby Boom” and a science-fiction series based on NBC’s recent two-part ratings hit “Something Is Out There.”

NBC, which finished first in the prime-time ratings this season for the third year in a row, was the first network to announce its fall program schedule. It had planned to make the announcement today, but an NBC spokeswoman said the network decided to move the time ahead because incorrect information was beginning to appear in the press.


ABC plans to release its schedule Monday. CBS has not announced a date for its unveiling, but a spokesman said it will be after ABC’s.

As big a question as what shows will be picked up for the new season is when the new season will begin. Because of the 10-week-old strike by the Writers Guild of America, the networks are now planning a start date of late October, following the Summer Olympics in late September and the baseball playoffs and World Series in early October. However, that is only a target and may be pushed back if the strike continues into the summer.

Three NBC shows were still in limbo Tuesday. Network spokesmen said final decisions had not yet been made about “Beverly Hills Buntz,” a half-hour “Hill Street Blues” spin-off starring Dennis Franz and Peter Jurasik as private detectives in Los Angeles; “The Bronx Zoo,” featuring Ed Asner as the principal of a troubled urban high school, and “The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd,” a laugh track-less, introspective half-hour about a 35-year-old divorcee in New York City.

NBC’s new shows for fall are:

--"Baby Boom,” a comedy with Kate Jackson starring as the careerist-turned-mom portrayed by Diane Keaton in the popular feature film. It will be Jackson’s fourth series, following successful runs in “The Rookies,” “Charlie’s Angels” and “Scarecrow and Mrs. King.”

--"Dear John,” a comedy starring Judd Hirsch as a man who, having had his wife leave him for his best friend, finds a new family in a singles group. This will move into NBC’s powerhouse Thursday lineup at 9:30 p.m., with “Night Court” moving to Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m.

--"Something Is Out There,” based on the recent high-rated miniseries about extra-terrestrial visitation, starring Joe Cortese and Maryam D’Abo.

--"Empty Nest,” a “Golden Girls” spinoff starring Richard Mulligan (formerly of “Soap”) as an eligible widower who moves in down the street from the women on the other show. The “Golden Girls” will make guest appearances.

--"Midnight Caller,” a drama about a former San Francisco cop who becomes a radio talk-show host, starring Gary Cole.

--"Unsolved Mysteries,” a weekly version of the occasional specials that feature re-enactments of unsolved crimes, providing viewers an opportunity to call in with pertinent information.

--"Tattinger’s,” from the “St. Elsewhere” creative team, starring Stephen Collins as a civic-minded New York restaurateur.

--"The Magical World of Disney,” a new anthology series from the Disney studio.

Here is NBC’s night-by-night lineup:

Monday: “ALF,” “The Hogan Family” (formerly “Valerie’s Family”), movie.

Tuesday: “Matlock,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “Midnight Caller.”

Wednesday: “Unsolved Mysteries,” “Night Court,” “Baby Boom,” “Tattinger’s.”

Thursday: “The Cosby Show,” “A Different World,” “Cheers,” “Dear John,” “L.A. Law.”

Friday: “Sonny Spoon,” “Something Is Out There,” “Miami Vice.”

Saturday: “227,” “Amen,” “The Golden Girls,” “Empty Nest,” “Hunter.”

Sunday: “The Magical World of Disney,” “Family Ties,” “Day By Day,” “NBC Sunday Movie.”